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Periodontal disease, just what is it?

08 Dec , 2020

Do you often experience bleeding gums and ignore it thinking it is not a big deal because it isn’t painful? It is a big deal because your gums are in trouble! Swelling and bleeding of gums is not normal. It indicates that your mouth is infected with bacteria. Chances are, you have periodontal disease.

What is periodontal disease?

The initial stage of gum disease is called gingivitis, which causes inflammation of the gums. Plaque or tartar is the major culprit here. One can notice redness and bleeding while brushing; these are the initial symptoms. If it is left untreated, gingivitis will turn into periodontitis, the advanced stage of periodontal disease.

‘Peri’ means around and ‘odontal’ means teeth. So, inflammation around the tooth could be termed as periodontitis. The gums pull away from the teeth and form pocket like spaces, which becomes infected. The war between bacterial toxins and our immune system starts breaking the bone and the connective tissue that hold teeth in place. If not treated, teeth may eventually become loose and might have to be removed.

Fortunately, gingivitis can be reversed by following a healthy oral hygiene and it can be prevented from advancing to periodontitis.

If, however, it has already reached the periodontitis stage, the dentist or the periodontist (experts in diagnosis and treatment of gum disease) would offer a deep cleaning treatment called scaling and root planing. Scaling refers to scraping off tartar from around the gum line and on the teeth and root planing refers to the process of cleaning the root surfaces of the teeth below the gum line.. In some cases, LASER treatment might also be recommended for treating periodontitis.

Signs that are indications for Periodontitis:

  • Chronic bad breath
  • Tender, swollen gums that bleed on brushing
  • Sensitive teeth
  • Painful chewing
  • Itchy gums
  • Urge to dig deep into the gums using a tooth pick.

Some people are more prone to periodontal disease that others. The vulnerability might be because of:

Risk factors

  • Smoking: Smoking not only is a significant risk factor, it also reduces the chances of successful treatment.
  • Hormonal changes in girls/women: The gums become more sensitive because of the change in hormones.
  • Diabetes: Diabetic people have high chances of developing infections.
  • Treatment of AIDS, cancer and other illness: The treatment process makes the immune system weak.
  • Medications: A few medicines are said to decrease the flow of saliva in the mouth, leading to dry mouth.
  • Misaligned teeth or teeth with braces: Anything that makes brushing and flossing difficult enhances plaque and tartar formation.
  • Poor nutrition: Severe deficiency of Vitamin C causes bleeding in gums.
  • Bad oral hygiene: Mouth is the breeding ground for disease causing bacteria. It is very important to brush and floss regularly.
  • Genetics: Like many other disease conditions, even Periodontitis is predisposed in some patients owing to their genetic make up.

Is periodontal disease restricted only to the mouth? Does it go beyond?

Research has been ongoing and plausible connections between gum diseases and various systems of the body have been implicated:

  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Premature birth
  • Respiratory diseases

While efforts are being made by the researchers, here is what you can do to keep your teeth and gums healthy:

  • Brush twice a day and floss to remove plaque from between teeth
  • Visit a dentist every six months for a routine check-up
  • Stop smoking or the use of tobacco

DentoXpert has put together this informative article, so that you know if your teeth show these signs, if so, then it is time to visit your doctor! To know more, visit

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